UK Government Recommits to Funding Support for Development of Advanced Aviation Biofuels
(Green Air Online) The UK government has recommitted to providing up to £22 million ($28m) towards funding for projects to develop advanced low carbon, waste-based advanced fuels for planes and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The fund, which must be matched by industry, is expected to help deliver up to five new plants in the UK by 2021 that will produce advanced fuels to be used in aircraft and lorries where it is not yet viable to switch to electric power.
The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT), in association with engineering and environmental consultancy Ricardo, first launched the ‘Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition’ (F4C) in April to invite applications for the funding but stalled due to the UK general election in May. The DfT reports it has received interest from over 70 groups in bidding for the funding. The UK aviation industry has welcomed the announcement, although it sees the bigger prize as the inclusion of advanced aviation biofuels in the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), on which the government is consulting.
The competition is part of the government’s Modern Industrial Strategy, which sets out to support evolving industries with the potential to boost the economy, explains the DfT, and says low carbon fuels made from waste materials could be worth £600 million ($770m) a year to the British economy by 2030, and could also support up to 9,800 new jobs. The DfT also considers planes and lorries powered by waste fuels could use up to 90% less carbon than traditional fossil fuels.
Responding to the announcement, UK cross-sector coalition group Sustainable Aviation (SA) welcomed the funding support and said its road map published in 2014 indicated the use of sustainable jet fuels in the UK could contribute to a reduction in aviation CO2 emissions of up to 24% by 2050, as well as significantly reduce particulate emissions. SA added that independent research conducted on its behalf showed domestic production of such fuels could provide between five and 12 sustainable fuel plants in the UK, worth up to £265 million ($340m) a year by 2030 and support up to 4,400 jobs.
In the DfT’s guidance notes for the F4C funding competition when first launched, the funding was to be awarded in two stages. Up to £2 million would be awarded in the Project Development Stage in 2017-18 to support the development of proposals and then up to £20 million in capital grant funding over three years (2018-21) for major demonstration projects “providing transformative and innovative solutions”.
The key objectives, it said, were to increase production of advanced low carbon fuels capable of tackling emissions from the hard-to-decarbonise aviation and HGV sectors “in pursuit of long-term decarbonisation targets” and to stimulate investment and create jobs through “the development of a prosperous domestic industry”.
Fuels produced from first generation feedstocks, such as those from crops, or from animal fats or used cooking oil are not eligible. READ MORE
UK government opens competition to develop waste-based fuels (Ethanol Producer Magazine)